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Community leader Johnny Danos dies


Johnny Danos, whose contributions to the community included what he considered his best work — as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines — died Sunday. He was 78.

“It’s with great sadness that I share with you the news of the passing of our good friend, Johnny Danos,” Kristi Knous, current Community Foundation president, said in an email. “Johnny died [Sunday] evening with his loving wife, Teresa, by his side.”

“Johnny was a committed mentor and friend, and was instrumental in the lives and professional careers of many,” Knous wrote. “He inspired giving, community building, collaboration and lived a ‘better together’ life. He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by his Community Foundation family and his community.”

Danos worked for 33 years as a certified public accountant and managing partner at KPMG (formerly Peat Marwick). A member of dsm Magazine’s Sages Over 70 class of 2012, Danos was president of the Community Foundation — which supports community projects — for 10 years beginning in 1999. In that time, the foundation’s assets grew to $180 million from less than $20 million. He remained active.

Later, he worked part time as director of strategic development at LWBJ Financial LLC. 

A New Orleans native, Danos served in the U.S. Army during the Berlin crisis of 1961. He also spent time in Baton Rouge, La., and Brussels. He moved to Des Moines in 1978 and stayed. 

When he wasn’t working and supporting community projects, Danos was known as a serious foodie, whipping up dishes with a Louisiana flair. He and his wife, Teresa Van Vleet-Danos, were known for hosting dinner parties that benefit local charities.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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